Eugen Bacon recommends her top 5 Afrofuturistic books

Anthologies and collections have become instrumental in the proliferating Afrofuturistic writing that heroes black people in stories from Africa and the diaspora, stories whose visibility is increasingly evident in award nominations and reading list recommendations.

Newer works continue to highlight the urgency to decolonise language, while deconstructing and reconstructing the written identities of people of colour.

Together with anthologies and collections are notable novels, comics, graphic books and works in black speculative poetry – thanks to thriving organisations like the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) – that help to showcase and recognise vibrant and throbbing works by people of colour, for example in the Rhysling Awards.

My top picks are a mix of short story collections, essay collections, anthologies, graphic books and speculative fiction poetry.

-Eugen Bacon

Parable of the Sower: A Graphic Novel Adaptation, written by Octavia Butler, adapted by Damian Duffy, illustrated by John Jennings (Harry N. Abrams)

This graphic novel adaptation won the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story or Comic. The work pays homage to Octavia Butler and stays an inspiration to many, in a radical diversification of comics and graphic books targeting newer generations of readers. 

Can You Sign My Tentacle? by Brandon O’Brien (Interstellar Flight Press)

Brandon’ O’Brien’s Can You Sign My Tentacle? is an audacious collection of the everyday and the surreal in a beautiful blackness that is sombre and magnificent. A risky assemblage, sarcastic and free, spilling with blood and duality, it found itself announced in the preliminary ballot of the 2021 Bram Stoker Awards.     

Nombono: Speculative Poetry by BIPOC Poets, edited by Akua Lezli Hope (Sundress Publications)

This anthology of black speculative poetry is a cross-cultural inhabitation that shimmers with metaphors of moons, gods, oceans, and humanity in all its transmutations. Akua Lezli Hope has put together a splendid miscellany that is a warning and a promise in a liminal landscape that is reanimating.

Shoggoths in Traffic and Other Stories by Tobias S. Buckell (Fairwood Press)

This short story collection by Tobias S. Buckell offers stories of hope, warning, or new futures for its black protagonists who are orphans, migrants, shamans, entities in the city grid…. Buckell draws from Caribbean roots, sometimes deeply unsettling in stories of carnage, friendship, power, other worlds and the occult. Shoggoths in Traffic and Other Stories is convincingly uncanny with protagonists you can relate to.

Bridging Worlds: Global Conversations on Creating Pan-African Speculative Literature in a Pandemic (Jembefola Press)

With a staggering cast of award-winning from Africa and the diaspora, this collection of essays is an earnest insight on Blackness, Afrofuturism, being creative in the face of the toughest hurdles, notwithstanding events surrounding the deaths of black people in the hands of police officers meant to protect them. With titles including Zelda Knight’s ‘Blackness is not Monolithic, But Publishing Is’, ‘Sheree Renée Thomas on Writing & Editing While Black During a Pandemic’, Milton Davis’s ‘The Year that Wasn’t, yet Was’, Edwin Okolo’s ‘If You Haven’t Noticed, the Dystopia is Already Here’, and Shingai Njeri Kagunda’s ‘When Words Fail to Save’, among other naked truths and yearnings, this anthology is the closest you will get into the minds, hearts and souls of clear-spoken black writers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Eugen Bacon is African Australian, a computer scientist mentally re-engineered into creative writing. She’s the author of Claiming T-Mo by Meerkat Press and Writing Speculative Fiction by Red Globe Press, Macmillan. Eugen’s work has won, been shortlisted, longlisted or commended in national and international awards, including the Bridport Prize, Copyright Agency Prize, Australian Shadows Awards, Ditmar Awards and Nommo Award for Speculative Fiction by Africans.

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Eugen Bacon, MAGE OF FOOLS Blog Tour Info

MAGE OF FOOLS by Eugen Bacon

RELEASE DATE: March 15, 2022

GENRE: Speculative Fiction / Dystopian / Afrofuturist

BOOK PAGE:  Mage of Fools – Meerkat Press


In the dystopian world of Mafinga, Jasmin must contend with a dictator’s sorcerer to cleanse the socialist state of its deadly pollution.

Mafinga’s malevolent king dislikes books and, together with his sorcerer Atari, has collapsed the environment to almost uninhabitable. The sun has killed all the able men, including Jasmin’s husband Godi. But Jasmin has Godi’s secret story machine that tells of a better world, far different from the wastelands of Mafinga. Jasmin’s crime for possessing the machine and its forbidden literature filled with subversive text is punishable by death. Fate grants a cruel reprieve in the service of a childless queen who claims Jasmin’s children as her own. Jasmin is powerless—until she discovers secrets behind the king and his sorcerer.

BUY LINKS:  Meerkat Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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